After a week of trying to make some steps forward in battling bulimia, I haven’t gotten very far. I feel like I’ve probably taken a giant leap backwards if anything.
Last night was terrible. I binged and purged. And binged. And purged. Over and over until I was finally exhausted and headed to bed with my stomach full and my heart aching.
I woke up this morning and felt horrendous. I was suffering from a severe sugar hangover. I’m not sure if other people get this experience, but if I have enough crap the day before, I feel completely rotten the next day; and it’s not just in my mind. Not only was I feeling awful mentally and physically from my stupidity yesterday, but I can still feel what I’ve done to my stomach. I was retching this morning after I had swallowed nothing more than my multivitamin and a sip of water. My stomach was severely not impressed with the abuse I’d put it through. This is scary. I don’t know what I’ve done to my body, and how long-lasting the harm will be.
I was at the grocery store yesterday filling my cart with all items that were going to make up my binge when a magazine caught my eye. I’ve never really paid much attention to Oprah; I don’t own a TV, and her magazine seems targeted towards a different group (i.e. those who have the time to watch daytime TV). It was an article about how she conquered her battle with food once and for all. What EDer could not purchase this magazine with an enticing title like that?
The article was about a new book. I’ve stumbled upon a few of this author’s books before, but never really picked one up, it struck me as promoting an unrealistic message. “Eat whatever you want and lose weight!” The article however was completely different than what I was expecting. She talked about how to get to the goal that I hope the achieve: learning to have a healthy balance with food. Well, that was good enough for me to buy one of her books. If I was desperate enough to try reading a Dr. Phil missive on dieting, what did I have to lose?
So I’m reading a book on how to stop emotional eating. Her latest is sold out (most likely due to Oprah’s recommendation)! I can’t believe how insightful some of the things she has to say on binge eating. A couple that really resonated with me:
“If you want food and you’re not hungry it’s a good indicator that you want something less tangible but don’t know what it is or feel that you might not be able to get it. You can use the desire to eat when you are not hungry as an indicator that you need something less material than food and that until you stop eating, you cannot discover what that might be.”
“As long as there is that voice of “not allowed”, as long as there are foods you feel you shouldn’t eat, you create struggle and conflict. As long as there is struggle, there is bingeing. And as long as there is bingeing there is fear about eating what you want.”
This book details how she overcome her own binge eating disorder. It’s got a series of steps on how to take steps in order to be free of a food addiction. This is the first piece of literature I’ve ever come across that seems like it can actually help someone move forward in stopping being obsessed with food; everything else I’ve ever tried to read inevitably puts food into “good” and “bad” categories. Example: don’t keep anything around that you overeat. This is all well and good, but I mean, it’s telling yourself you have no self control, and never will over food.
So, new step 1. Banning junkfood clearly isn’t helping. Knowing that it’s forbidden is fueling the binge and purge cycle. I’m going to try to listen to the advice laid out in this book. Stop making food forbidden. Eek. What a terrifying thought! Keep forbidden food in the house. In a quantity that you can’t possibly consume in one sitting (even for a b+p’er). Realize that it’s there. It’s not going anywhere, you can have it tomorrow. And then next day. And the next month if that’s what you want. So today, I’ve got one of my typical binge foods sitting in my cupboard. And shockingly enough, it’s been there for the last 4 hours without me touching it. Have I thought about it? Yup. But have I felt that overwhelming urge that I “must have it now!” Strangely enough no. Knowing that I’m “allowed” to eat it for any meal, for as many days as I want takes away a lot of it’s power.
There’s a ton of advice to try in this book. It’s going to be rough, but I’m going to try. I know that it’ll be extremely hard and that I’ll inevitably have slip ups, but for the first time in I don’t know how long, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.